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An Incomplete Guide to Yo Gabba Gabba’s Guests

For young parents everywhere, Yo Gabba Gabba might be the best children’s television out. Henry Oliver takes us through some of the show’s best guest appearances so far. //

The key to a good kid’s show is simultaneously appealing to both young and old. Of course, I say this because, as an adult, I want to be appealed to. And because I know that my control of the TV has an expiration date. My daughter likes Yo Gabba Gabba! partly because I like it, so I’m happy to put it on for her. But I know that as soon as she wants to further separate herself from her parents, she might decide she likes the Wiggles more than DJ Lance Rock and the gang. She won’t give a damn if I like the Wiggles or not, she’ll demand that I put them on and will probably scream and cry and at some point I will probably just give in and put the damn Wiggles on.

Anyway, if you have a kid (or live with someone who’s a kid at heart) and have control of the TV, Yo Gabba Gabba! is about as appealing as you’re going to get for a Gen X/Y parent: the music is great, hi-energy genre-hopping pop with extremely catchy hooks, and every episode features at least one cool guest you can feel good about exposing your kid to.

So, to help you on your way through this excellent show, here is Part 1 of my Incomplete Who’s-Who Guide to Yo Gabba Gabba Guest Appearances, including my patented[1] Non-Gabba Favourite for extra credit.

Elijah Wood (S01E01): Every New Zealander over a certain age will know this little hobbit. Wood has the honor of being Yo Gabba Gabba!’s first celebrity guest, a pretty good get for a brand new show. Wood leads the gang in the first Dancey Dance Time, teaching them one of my favourite dances from the show, The Puppetmaster. Non-Gabba Favourite: The Ice Storm

Tony Hawk (S01E09): Tony Hawk was always the least cool pro skateboarder. Revolutionary, amazing, probably The Greatest Ever, but still the least cool. Maybe that’s why he’s had such longevity and a stellar business career. But at great as Hawk is, what bugs me is that he passes skating off as a Dancey Dance, when it’s not a dance at all[2] and he admits that he isn’t good at dancing. Non-Gabba Favourite: Ban This

Sean Kingston (S01E16): A Jamaican-American rapper of the dancehall/R&B persuasion, Kingston leads probably the lowest energy Dancey Dance Times ever. Good for tired kids maybe, but if you’re looking for something with a little more bounce, try my Non-Gabba Favourite: ‘Letting Go’

Amar’e Stoudemire (S02E03): What’s happened to Amar’e Stoudemire is really sad.[3] Just a few years ago he was one of the most explosive and entertaining basketball players on the planet. When he was teamed with Steve Nash on the seven-seconds-or-less Phoenix Suns, he was an unstoppable highlight generator. Unfortunately, his knees couldn’t keep up with him and soon after he got the biggest contract of his career, his body started to break down and his lucrative contract has become more famous than his crazy athleticism. Non-Gabba Favourite: Dunks

Sarah Silverman (S03E01): Sarah Silverman was one of the 00s vanguard of faux-naive stoner comedy. She operates in two modes: offensive (her stand-up) and sweet (The Sarah Silverman Show). Non-Gabba Favourite: Her many Comedy Central Roast appearances

Solange Knowles (S03E05): It’s unfortunate that Solange (she goes by the single name now) is now most famous for trying to kick the crap out of her sister Beyonce’s husband. Before all that noise, Solange was just a woman trying to make some hits of her own, without riding her big sister’s coattails too hard. And it was working pretty well until some security guy sold a iPhone video to TMZ for US$250,000. Non-Gabba Favourite: ‘Losing You

Mix Master Mike (S03E13): Remember turntablism? DJs doing tricky things with records to make weird music. It sounds pretty ridiculous now, but will probably be cool again in a year or so. Mix Master Mike was the DJ for the Beastie Boys and one of the best turntablists of the 90s. I saw him play when he came to Auckland with the Beasties in 1999 and it got so hot that sweat dripped from the ceiling. Good times. Non-Gabba Favourite: Anti-Theft Device

And that’s all we have time for today. So, until next time, in the words of DJ Lance Rock: Thanks for playing with me. See you next time. Here we go… Yo… Gabba… Gabba…

[1] Not really, I’m lying about the patent.

[2] Skateboarding should be really included in the Cool Tricks segment.

[3] Sad meaning getting paid millions of dollars to not do his job, but still…

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